While only Justin Bieber and Ludacris took home Moonmen, Atlanta, the capital of hip-hop and R&B still made its mark. Usher and B.o.B. and the ubiquitous (and lip-syncing) Justin Bieber, performed, while Trey Songz made an appearance as a presenter. Disappointingly, the show’s first female host in sixteen years, Chelsea Handler, was only occasionally funny, but overall the show still packed some big moments.
Here are the highlights:
• Eminem opened with “Love the Way You Lie” and a redheaded Rihanna dressed in white.
• Usher was introduced by Ke$ha and fellow Atlantan, Trey Songz. The newly single R&B crooner did an energetic dance solo on a laser lit stage in reflective gear.
• Florence + the Machine gave a classic rock spirited, gimmick-free performance.
• Nicki Minaj, who performed in the pre-show, presented the Best Male Video with Katy Perry. After Minaj accepted the award for a New York-bound Eminem, Perry joked that the Moonman was “stiff.”
• N.E.R.D. made a special appearance with Ciara.
• Drake, Swizz Beats and Mary J. Blige came together for “You Fancy.” Mary was smooth in a black suit and equally sleek vocals.
• B.o.B. first did a few bars of “Nothing on You” with Bruno Mars and was also joined by Paramore's Hayley Williams for the thrice-nominated, but non-winning “Airplanes.”
• A meat-dressed Lady Gaga accepted the “Best Video” award.
We knew Taylor Swift and Kanye West would grace the same stage, just not the same stage at the same time. Well, not exactly. Swift’s performance opened with a clip of last year’s West mic-snatching incident. The clip didn’t show his words, only her reactions: the thrill of winning her first VMA, then West exiting while she stood in silence. She performed her new song, "Speak Now" uninterrupted.
Another big surprise: Cher appeared in the sparkly sheer bodysuit over a thong bikini like the one she wore in her “If I Could Turn Back Time” video. She said, “I’m the oldest chick with the biggest hair in the smallest costume,” then continued with some stale jokes about having “shoes older than most of the nominees” and performing when “Lady Gaga was baby Gaga.”
The finale didn’t disappoint. Kanye West stood at the center of the stage playing an MPC player and singing alongside ballet dancers and the Clipse’s Pusha T. West then got back on the mic – Autotuning – to sing “for the douchebags and a**holes.” In short, there was something for everybody.
For full coverage and a complete list of winners in all categories, go to MTV.com.
List of Winners in Main Categories
Best Female Video –Lady Gaga “Best Romance”
Best Male Video – Eminem “Not Afraid”
Best Pop Video – Lady Gaga “Bad Romance”
Best Hip-hop Video – Eminem “Not Afraid”
Best Video – Lady Gaga “Bad Romance”
Best New Artist – Justin Bieber “Baby” feat. Ludacris
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